Fiche juridical: French Association Act 1901, 

In accordance with which the Association CIPDH is registered in Paris. 

One of the first laws regulating the activities of non-profit organizations was the French law of 1901 « On associations » (with minor amendments and additions as of March 2012), which is still in force and served as a model for the legislation and political practice of many European countries. 

The Association Act of 1901, as amended in March 2012, defines an association as “an agreement under which two or more persons combine their knowledge and activities on a permanent basis, not for the purpose of sharing profits. In its practice, it is governed by the general principles of contractual and obligation law”. 

The Association is a private law organization in France and is governed by this law. 

This general definition of the law allowed citizens to create many different public organizations and associations. Actually, the French term « association » means « union ». Neither the legislation nor the theoretical works of French lawyers use the term « non-governmental organizations », leaving it to publicists and commentators. 

The 1901 law allows: 

– freely form associations without prior permission and application, subject to compliance with applicable laws (Article 2); 

– freely formulate the purpose of the association in any area of public life, if they do not contradict the law (Article 3); 

– independently, at their own will or as necessary, to determine the organizational form, internal rules and features of functioning; 

(This means that the CIPDH has the full legal right to issue to its members any documents certifying their membership or affiliation with the association, any form or insignia, any identification marks, if they are not contrary to French law in their use.) 

– change goals, organizational structures, charter at any time; 

– make an application registration with publication in the Official Gazette, which automatically gives the association the status of a legal entity. 

The status of a legal entity gives the association the right to receive material support from the outside or create its own sources of finance (membership fees, funding by the state or local authorities, gifts, inheritance, etc.). 

The current French criminal code provides that each member of the association is responsible only for his own actions, but not for the actions of the association, unless, of course, he is a leader, whose legal rights and duties are precisely defined by the Charter. 

Thus, each member of the association, when performing his actions, bears only personal responsibility, and the head-President is responsible only for the actions of the association as a legal entity. 

In accordance with international law, no claims in other countries can be made against an association registered in France, unless the association is simultaneously registered as a foreign legal entity in that country by the same founders who created the association in France. 

( Therefore, all cases of possible violations outside France do not fall under the legal responsibility of the CIPDH and must be investigated in these countries.) 

Thus, according to French and international law, all cases of violations or abuses committed outside France are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the states concerned. All possible allegations of wrongdoing must be addressed to the perpetrators in these countries. 

It is fashionable in France to be a member of an association. In 2020, there were over a million different associations in the country, employing over 2 million workers. In 2020, the members of the associations were 18 million citizens, that is, almost a third of the country’s adult population.